This past weekend Wendy and I took a little time out of our hectic schedules to do as we often do on Sundays and visit a few open houses. While we tend to gravitate to various Old Town houses, friends of ours are somewhat smitten with the nearby Rosemont neighborhood. Rosemont is a neighboring neighborhood of Old Town and is just a stone's throw from the King Street metro. It's an ideal commuter area and has far more of a classic neighborhood feel than Old Town has. Our friends identified a couple doozies of homes that were being held open and wanted to check them out. Knowing our penchant for touring the homes of others, especially those particularly out of our realistic price range, we gladly obliged and met up.

Rather than do our normal "Would You Trade?" game at the end of the post, we're going to do two separate posts on these two houses and then play, "Which Would You Choose?"

The two houses we toured are on the same street just a stone's throw from each other, both recently renovated, listed at a similar price, and both with ample space, so the comparison will at least be apples to apples, but we're talking Granny Smith to Honeycrisp.

Okay, let's begin!

In the red corner, weighing in at 7 bedrooms, 4.5 bathroom, and nearly 5,700 sqft, our first home on the card was originally built in the roaring 20s. As you can see in tale of the tape, there's ample space to raise a nearly Dugger sized family and still maintain a theater room and home gym for those days you need to get away. Honestly, with all of that space it's difficult to imagine what you can really do to effectively fill it, but we'll try.

Walking up the front steps you are immediately struck by the size of the home simply by the width if the front door. It has to be at least four feet wide, over a foot wider than typical front doors, and comes complete with a transom. I was so taken by the massive door that I almost didn't notice the beautiful wrap around front porch complete with rocking chairs. It feels far more southern than your typical Northern Virginian home.

As you enter through the front door you are welcomed into a rather grand entry hall. This entry hall is so wide that you could almost fit our entire home's 15' width in this area.

One of the home's staircases is immediately in front of you, but don't worry, if you don't use this set of stairs, there are four others to choose from. Two basement stairs, two to the second floor, and one to the third floor. In other words, this makes a great hide and seek house.

To the right of the entry hall is the home's large formal living room with a very lovely fireplace and more room than I can really comprehend. After living in our house for the last 10 years, the amount of space available in this house for furnishing and needing decor is simply mind boggling, and we were only one actual room into the house when I made this earth shaking revelation.

Beyond the living room is the formal dining room, and also as far back as the original footprint of the home goes.

Back in 2010-2011 a large addition was added to the rear of the house that is roughly the same size as the original house. They did a good job marrying the old and new and ensuring consistent lines, moldings, and a flow from the front half of the house to the back, but the addition is more apparent when you see the home from the outside.

This back half addition of the house is where you'll find a very large and well appointed kitchen and open living area.

The kitchen is very nice with high end appliances, but I was focusing far more on the intricate moldings and inlayed beadboard on the ceiling. This was where I started to ask Wendy if she liked the look and wanted something similar in our know, on a much smaller scale!!

It was difficult to get as response from her as she was lost in the cavernous expanse of pass throughs and the butler's pantry imagining purchasing and storing (with ease and accessibility) many many sets of china place settings and entertaining loot.

As you can see from the photo, this back area is also where you'll find the back staircase to the second floor.

The two staircases to the second floor empty into an octagonal center section of the level. This area then branches off to rooms, hallways, and the third floor set of stairs. It's an interesting layout, and one that gives the home a certain amount of character I didn't expect.

The various rooms are spacious with closets and views out onto the surrounding neighborhood. Since it seems the home was staged for listing, it's hard to get a sense for each room with just a single bed as decor, but I'm sure each room has the potential to be rather spectacular on its own.

One of the things I noticed in the older section of the house that made me quite happy is how they retained the original windows through the renovation. The old glass, sash with cords, and pulleys with weights are all very much intact. What's more, a few of the rooms have a spectacular view of the Masonic temple. Even though these rooms are not the master, their view of the illuminated temple at night is easily the nicest view in the house.

In addition to the original double hung windows, the home's true divided light harlequin/diamond pattern windows are also still intact.

This house is very fortunate that this detail item wasn't lost over the years, as it adds a significant amount of character that is hard to find in new construction.

The master bathroom is toward the back of the second floor and I have one word for you, "expansive!" No joke, this is possible the largest master I've ever walked through in Alexandria. You could put a bed, a seating area, and an eating area in there and you'd still have room for additional bedroom furnishing.

The en suite is quite nice and incorporates a nicely sized shower and a beautiful clawfoot bathtub.

I almost lost Wendy in there as I'm pretty sure she wanted to take a break and just in the tub for a quick relaxing bath. She's had a bit of a case of bathtub envy as she has patiently waited for our tub for the last decade. Any. Day. Now. :-)

The third floor of the home is a blank slate of open space just waiting to be turned into a large office, play room, ping pong tournament of champions area, craft area, or whatever else your heart desires.

This floor also has a great view that looks out over Old Town, towards DC, and onto the Masonic Temple.

As much space as I've already outlined, we'd be leaving out a rather significant chunk of home if we didn't cover the house's well appointed and nicely finished full basement. With room for additional bedrooms, another full bath, and living area, this basement is clearly a multipurpose area that goes well beyond the label of "man cave." And as I mentioned, there are two distinct staircases to get to this level.

The home has garage parking, and also a small backyard, but with the size of the addition much of the green space of the otherwise large yard has been lost to the house.

Overall I'm quite impressed by the size of the home, and with how efficient the storage and layout is even though the living area is so expansive. There seem to be built ins and storage tucked away almost everywhere you look.

It is possible this home is too large for us, as I can't imagine making effective use of the space without a family of at least seven, but I'm sure someone can do it.

There are a handful of things in the house that I was rather surprised by. Some of the finish details, such as the newel posts on the stairs, lack of vintage hardware like hinges and knobs, and some of the other moldings, seemed to be more builder grade than the true character building salvaged materials which would have added so much to the house in my mind (but maybe that's just me). Also, much of the home retained the original hard wood flooring, but new flooring had been laid in the addition or other new areas that didn't match the old, rather than finding salvaged flooring as a better match. The final thing I noticed is that the water supply was all done using PVC, rather than PEX or Copper. It seems that in a home of this size and price you'd want to use the longest lasting product and the one least susceptible to failure, but maybe this is just me being a house snob. All in all, I think the things I just brought up are simply a result of trying to complete a large renovation project in a reasonable amount of time and within a budget, something I'm not familiar with in our house (except the budget).

Overall, the home is impressive, spacious, and interesting, to say the least. I wouldn't know what to do with half of it, or more, but it was fun to walk through. If you're interested in the listing details, be sure to check it out on the listing agent's website on the link further down this page.

We'll be back next week with home #2 in our Rumble in Rosemont competition where we'll be able to compare the two well appointed Rosemont residences to see who stands as champion. But until then, what do you think of this house? Is it too large for you, or could you find yourself decking the walls, halls, and all else? We'd love to hear your opinion.

If you'd like to see additional details, they are available on the home's official listing page.

Interested in reading about other interesting homes for sale? Want to offer your take on "would you trade"? Check out the Open Housing section of Old Town Home.

Photo Credits: McEnearney Associates Inc., Realtors and listing agent, Sue Goodhart, where MRIS is noted in watermark.

Comments 5


3/21/2013 at 10:56 PM
Hmmm, so far, I'm not really liking this house. I'm sure dozens of people will gawk at it and drool over it, and think it's a gorgeous dream home, but for me, it's missing a lot of the character and details that I really look for.

The main one is that all the doors look replaced (and have hideous cheap looking modern hardware on them - which just makes me gag), and second is a lot of the mouldings look new. It's hard to tell what's original, and what was added, but homes from the 1920s did not usually have this much mouldings and coffered ceilings in every room. There's also an overabundance of wainscotting, and for me, the overall effect just comes off looking like a cheesy McMansion.

I do like that they refinished the original floors in most of the house, and that the original windows were kept, but the charm just isn't there for me in this one.

I'm really curious to see what the second house will be like (did you save the best for last?) I'm also happy to see a new Open House post, since you haven't done one in a while. Similarly, I should do another "local houses" post on my blog.
3/22/2013 at 9:32 AM
Somebody got a deal on recessed lighting fixtures, lol. Seriously, too big for me! Our family of four (3 humans, 1 beagle) has plenty of space in our mid-60s colonial. And I agree with JC that your house has much more charm. You have a gift, being able to restore the house with historical accuracy and add modern conveniences in a way that's not ugly.
3/22/2013 at 11:34 AM
I couldn't buy it and I'll list 2.1 Million reason's why...

Imagine heating/cooling that house. I guess if you can afford that house you should be able to afford the utilities that accompany it.
3/23/2013 at 9:58 PM
We looked at the pictures and one word came to mind with the addition and renovations - cheap. It seems that whoever planned and built the addition got in over their head and tried to cut costs by doing the bare minimum possible. Sure, they went high end on the kitchen, but you can tell the rest of the house suffered because of it.

It's odd that they would put low-end builder's grade stuff in that house, especially with all of the choices for architectural salvage in the area. Also, pressurized PVC? In a $2M house? You have to be kidding me!

If I were a prospective buyer of a house in this price range, I would run away from this one. Since they didn't hide the fact that they skimped on the doors, hardware, light fixtures, plumbing, etc., you have to ask yourself, what else did they cheap out on that you can't see?
3/25/2013 at 11:43 PM
Wow. The house has some nice old details but it is far too large for my tastes! Like you much work and money would be needed to furnish it. Not to mention the chore of keeping it all clean...
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